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And another thing that I disagree with is this: animals having no rights is not a political issue. It is fundamentally a philosophical issue. Just as man's rights is derived from his ability to reason and achieve volition, you cannot possibly have rights, on principle, if you lack faculties of reason. So regardless of what you do to them, it is morally irrelevant (at least in and of the act itself).

Something about this answer doesn't sit right with me. If the ability to reason and achieve volition are the only source of rights, and absolutely no rights can exist without them, then wouldn't it also follow that there is nothing immoral about making children fight to the death? How about severely retarded people? Neither one is a fully rational and volitional being, but the thought of using either one for blood sport will surely disgust any moral person. What am I missing?

Edited by Ender
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What am I missing?

What you are missing is that you are taking literally the notion of having full rationality and volition at a particular moment versus the idea that it is the nature of man (as a species whether adult or child) to use reason and volition as his primary means of survival. It is not the nature of dogs or tigers to use reason as their means of survival, they use their claws and/or teeth to survive, brute force. If two tigers in the wild fight and tear each other up, is one to "blame" for a rights violation; do we arrest the one who kills the other one for violating the dead cat's rights? Or, do you recognize that it is in their nature to tear each other to pieces as their normal means of survival in resolving a conflict?

In order for man to use his means of survival, his capacity for rationality and volition, to pursue the requirements of his life he needs to be free from the use of physical force and coercion. This is how rights are derived as a requirement of his life in dealing with other members of his species lest we become like animals and solve all our conflicts with tooth and nail.

On the other hand, "broken units" (like mentally handicapped people) are special cases. This concern is addressed in Objectivist literature.

NOTE: While the discussion of rights may be pertient to this thread, any detailed discussion on that topic should be taken to any number of other threads specifically dealing with man's rights. It should be taken as read that any person in this thread at least basically understands the Objectivist position on rights such that the topic not veer too wildly away from it's intended purpose. A discussion on rights is too big to be intertwined into this topic. Thanks.

Edited by RationalBiker
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From my personal experience I can attest to the fact that there are certain tricks that my dog will perform with a much more willing attitude than others. He doesn't like to "roll over" and often times will attempt to perform some other trick that he enjoys (or is less physical work) thinking that he will still be rewarded. Eventually he will roll over, but he emits verbalizations that clearly express his begrudging compliance; this is especially the case when there is no potential reward visible. Occasionally he will perform the same trick without reservation if he happens to be really interested in the reward. Even then after several repetitions of the same command he will again verbalize his frustration and resentment for my continued demands.

I'd caution you against describing animal behavior in such anthropomorphic terms. While it may serve well as a metaphor so that we can understand the behavior (it does; from your description I know exactly what you mean), but the cost is that you attribute human thought processes and consciousness to a non-human entity that is not capable of them.

For instance, an animal does not begrudge compliance - it resists compliance.

If you want to preserve the metaphor without anthropomorphizing, then I suggest putting the terms in scare quotes. That way, the animal verbalizes his "resentment" for your demands. (and so on)

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I'd caution you against describing animal behavior in such anthropomorphic terms. While it may serve well as a metaphor so that we can understand the behavior (it does; from your description I know exactly what you mean), but the cost is that you attribute human thought processes and consciousness to a non-human entity that is not capable of them.

For instance, an animal does not begrudge compliance - it resists compliance.

If you want to preserve the metaphor without anthropomorphizing, then I suggest putting the terms in scare quotes. That way, the animal verbalizes his "resentment" for your demands. (and so on)

I think it's pretty obvious that dogs can and do have feelings, as well as a limited problem solving capacity. So I think they are certainly capable of performing or not performing certain tasks based on their feelings towards those tasks. So what QKRTHNU was talking about are not really anthropomorphizing. Dog do think, they just aren't physically capable of thinking in terms of the abstract or to grasp principles (ie. they aren't rational). They are certainly capable of emotion based responses like: man keeps signaling me to roll over --> frustrated and wants to stop --> bare teeth and bark.

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They are certainly capable of emotion based responses like: man keeps signaling me to roll over --> frustrated and wants to stop --> bare teeth and bark.

Yes, but as I said, you don't want to put it in anthropomorphic terms. An animal isn't frustrated, it merely is acting in a "frustrated" instinctual mode. The trouble with the former is that it carries human implications. It is better to speak in the latter terms, to be clear that you're discussing something that isn't capable of experiencing life in the way that you or I do; that doesn't possess our kind of consciousness. It is mistakes like that which form the basis of the error which causes people to suppose such malarkey as "animal rights." Best to head it off at the pass, both for others and for your own thinking.

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This is the part that I sort of have a problem. It really seem like a dog that is bred and trained to fight actually likes to fight. Their training really isn't any more involuntary than training a dog to sniff out drugs, jump over hurdles, herd sheep, or any other ways you can conceivably train an animal.
I think as a general statement that whether dogs actually enjoy it is of little consequence. This would be sort of a hedoniistic view of the situation. A sociopath might actually feel pleasure in torturing animals. That doesn'tmake it moral.Having some familiarity with animial training, I'd say it is possilbe to conditiona an animal to want to do such things; however, I'm unconvinced that this creates a healthy animal in this particular case. That's part of the issue for me. I can train an animal to do lots of things, but for most of those things I don't destroy the animals ability to function in the world. Training my poodle to jump through hoops doesn't make him anti-social. In fact, those types of trianing actually make him a better dog in everyday life.
I guess the question is do you think people in general go to see Muay Thai to celebrate man's rationality?
Well, in Thailand, there is a great respect for the sport and the ability of the fighters who practice it. Although it may not be directly and explicitly a celebration of mans rationality, it has those elements. But as I said the difference here is voluntary participation on the fighters part, and a significant role for the fighters rationality.
For instance, is the training voluntary when a show poodle is being taught to jump through hoops?
Hey, how'd you know I had a poodle that jumps through hoops? :)
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